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Milan-San Remo 2017

It's Milan-San Remo day! The riders are in the process of signing on. There's some sun out there and the racing will be underway in just over 30 minutes. 

Peter Sagan is up to sign on. He is the favourite for many but can he finally strike gold in San Remo today?

This is the team that is behind Peter Sagan today. 

71 Peter Sagan (Svk)
72 Sam Bennett (Irl)
73 Maciej Bodnar (Pol)
74 Marcus Burghardt (Ger)
75 Andreas Schillinger (Ger)
76 Juraj Sagan (Svk)
77 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat)
78 Cesare Benedetti (Ita)

 

Kennaugh focuses on improving GC results in Grand Tours https://t.co/aw7fWzjUMj https://t.co/4g2jvF3A3j

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th Mar 2017 08:44:17

Probably the most formidable team on the start line, as ever, is Quick-Step Floors. They've got a number of big hitters in their line-up that could win today, including Fernando Gaviria

151 Tom Boonen (Bel)
152 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra)
153 Jack Bauer (NZl)
154 Fernando Gaviria (Col)
155 Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
156 Fabio Sabatini (Ita)
157 Matteo Trentin (Ita)
158 Julien Vermote (Bel)

 

Today will be Tom Boonen's final Milan-San Remo as he is set to retire in a few short weeks. He says that it's not always the strongest that wins but the ones who make the right tactical choices. He remains confident that the team can find a way to beat Peter Sagan and their other rivals. Read what the Belgian had to say here

 

Mark Cavendish won Milan-San Remo back in 2009. He's on the start line today. Can he take his second win eight years after his first? Here he is with fellow contender Peter Sagan.

 

T minus 10 minutes for the start of Milan-San Remo. The riders are almost ready to roll out. 

 

The parcours of the 108th Milano-Sanremo. https://t.co/GK7FJS9mUr

@quickstepteam Sat, 18th Mar 2017 08:54:06

Two riders from Cannondale-Drapac @Ride_Argyle using disc brakes @Milano_Sanremo. Seems nobody else wants to risk a… https://t.co/H1AlSDN6Bp

@stephenfarrand Sat, 18th Mar 2017 08:57:43

There are a number of riders who could take out victory today. It's such a long race and almost anything can happen but we've tried to lay out some predictions. Let's see how wise they are in a few hour's time

And we're off! The riders are rolling through the neutral section. We should have racing very soon. 

Today we welcome the president of @segafredoitalia in the car. But first things first: ☕ #MSR #segafredo https://t.co/Vlz7il62f7

@TrekSegafredo Sat, 18th Mar 2017 09:08:29

Some good new for the riders on this longest of days. There is expected to be a bit of a tailwind when the riders hit the coast. 

 

The start proper has been given. Just 291km left for the riders. 

 

Just a few kilometres in, 10 riders have already made a bid for freedom. The riders are: Frapporti, Maestri, Clarke, Skujins, Rovni, Marangoni, Poli, Zurlo, Amezqueta and Denz. 

 

It looks like this is the break of the day, as the bunch looks to save their legs for later. The 10 riders have almost two minutes on the peloton.

 

It is unsurprising that the Italian teams are heavily represented in this attack, particularly Androni Giocattoli and Nippo-Vini Fantini. These two teams were very active at Tirreno-Adriatico and look set to continue that. They've been trying to make a point since missing out on a Giro d'Italia wild card. 

 

Some clarification on the riders in the break. It is Mattia Frapporti and William Clarke. The bane of having two riders with the same last name in the same team. Again, this is the full make-up of the break with full names and teams: Nico Denz (Ag2r La Mondiale), Mattia Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), William Clarke, Tom Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Fantini), Umberto Poli (Novo Nordisk), Federico Zurlo (UAE Team Emirates), Julen Amezqueta (Wilier-Selle Italia).

 

#MSR Amezqueta in fuga! Amezqueta is i the breakaway! Amezqueta està en cabeza de carrera! #AupaJulen #LoveMyWilier https://t.co/FSrEhgYzEe

@WilierSelleIta Sat, 18th Mar 2017 09:31:12

Jack Bauer will be a key player for Quick-Step Floors today. He's a strong rider and will be able to help control the action in the earlier part of the race. He believes the team has four potential cards to play today. 

 

“To me isn’t really true that anyone can win. Things need to go right for other than a sprinter to win this race. It’s a race of 200 people at the start," said Bauer.  

 

"I think we do have four potential winners in the team at least and I am excited to be here racing with such a strong group that is going in to win. It gives me a new sense of motivation. I wasn’t expecting to line up at the Milan-San Remo at the beginning of the year. If I have to think about a key point it’s for sure the descent to the Cipressa and the lead into the Poggio.

 

"A gap in the descent or a small one at the top of the Cipressa when the speed is so high leading into the Poggio means you’ll never be able to get back again. The legs and the body start to be so tired at that point of the race that even close a gap or to come back from a mistake becomes difficult."

 

The gap between the breakaway and the peloton is growing quickly after 24 kilometres. They've got approaching five minutes now on the bunch. 

 

Ben Swift, like many, has the key parts of the course noted on his bike

 

Having begun in 1907, Milan-San Remo is one of the oldest races on the calendar. In the build-up to this the first monument of the season, we compiled a collection of iconic images from this iconic race

 

@petercossins Marc Gomez was the last rider to win from a day-long break (1982). Was part of a 20-man group.

@CafeRoubaix Sat, 18th Mar 2017 09:37:30

FDJ, team of the defending champion Arnaud Demare, is controlling the bunch at the moment. William Bonnet is the man at the pointy end of the action for now.  

261km remaining from 291km

FDJ has brought the gap down a touch to just 3:57 after 30 kilometres. 

 

King: I was never fearful at British Cycling https://t.co/tXDwWn0jza https://t.co/TLMRf9D9B9

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th Mar 2017 09:57:02

The team backing up Arnaud Demare today as he looks to defend his title. It's not as strong as some of the others, but Demare proved that wasn't necessarily an issue last year. 

 

1 Arnaud Demare (Fra)
2 Mickaël Delage (Fra)
3 William Bonnet (Fra)
4 Davide Cimolai (Ita)
5 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita)
6 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu)
7 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra)
8 Anthony Roux (Fra)

 

The riders have been racing for an hour with an average speed of 41.5kph. Quick-Step has moved up to help out FDJ on the front, sending up Julian Vermote to do a bit of work. 

 

Have you listened to our Milan-San Remo preview podcast with former winner John Degenkolb. No? We'll forgive you I suppose, but only if you take a chance to listen to it now. You can find and listen to it right here

 

Julian Alaphilippe is making his MSR debut today. The Frenchman has had a great start to the season and put in an impressive performance at Paris-Nice earlier in the month. He has said that he's here to learn but he's also a potential contender for Quick-Step Floors. Here is what Alaphilippe said about his debut. 

 

"I am happy to be here at my first MSR which is one of the monuments of cycling. It’s a nice feeling to be here for the first time with an amazing and strong team. I learned I was riding here just last week and couldn’t even imagine it at the beginning of the season. I am excited and I want to learn. I cannot say how is going to be, but after having seen the race in the past, talked to my teammates I know it’s going to be a long a demanding race that asks a lot of concentration to be strong enough in the last kilometers."

 

News from our reporter on the ground Stephen Farrand is that after the lovely little tailwind on the coast, the riders can expect the wind to change direction and they will have to battle through a headwind. 

 

The gap continues to remain around the four-minute mark for the 10 escapees. Even though there is still well over 200km to go, the peloton is not happy to give them too much room to manoeuvre.

 

Sanremo official CD... for many in Italy Sanremo is famous for its annual TV song contest https://t.co/HW2tltuSUG

@inrng Sat, 18th Mar 2017 10:32:53

The breakaway is working fairly well together for now. After 50k, they have nudged the advantage out to 4:42,

 

Fernando Gaviria knows more than most that one wrong move can put an end to your hopes at Milan-San Remo. Gaviria crashed in the final run to the line last year just when it looked like he might take victory on his debut. Read his thoughts ahead of today's action

 

inCycle: Behind the scenes at the new look @BORAhansgrohe team | https://t.co/IJrDpEGRuY https://t.co/rxp1fta6Ea

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th Mar 2017 10:49:01

Michael Matthews had a difficult Milan-San Remo last year, crashing at an inopportune moment - a crash that also caught up eventual winner Arnaud Demare. He's hoping for much better fortune this year and says he's focusing solely on his own race and not that of his rivals. Read his thoughts here and why not take a look at the bike he's using today

 

216km remaining from 291km

Still over 200km to go and the gap has dropped back down four minutes. 

 

The wind is blowing a little stronger out there and the flags are up. This could make things a little more challenging for the escapees. 

 

If power is measured by number of FB live videos, Michał Kwiatkowski is going for the KOM on the Poggio on Saturday. Looks in great spirits.

@8aldwin Thu, 16th Mar 2017 11:49:46

The pace has slowed a touch over the second hour of racing. The average speed was 39kph in the second hour, down from 41.5kph over the opening hour of action. 

 

There are six former winners in the race today. We have the last three: Arnaud Demare, John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff. Mark Cavendish, Filippo Pozzato and Simon Gerrans are also in the bunch. None of them have ever won it a second time. 

 

Oscar Freire was the last multiple winner of Milan-San Remo. He won his third title 2010 when he bested Tom Boonen on the finish line. Erik Zabel was the last rider to defend his title when he won two in a row in 2000 and 2001. He'd done it once before in 1997 and 1998.

 

Filippo Pozzato remains hopeful that he might win another Milan-San Remo title but even he admits that he is not among the favourites. He has placed his bets on John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria

 

A quick reminder of those 10 guys that are out in the breakaway today. 

 

Nico Denz (Ag2r La Mondiale), Mattia Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), William Clarke, Tom Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Fantini), Umberto Poli (Novo Nordisk), Federico Zurlo (UAE Team Emirates), Julen Amezqueta (Wilier-Selle Italia).

 

Predictions are a fool's game but my top 5 - in no particular order - is: Sagan, Gaviria, Matthews, Roelandts and Demare. #MilanoSanremo

@saddleblaze Sat, 18th Mar 2017 11:35:27

Ben Swift has twice finished on the podium at Milan-San Remo, and was runner-up to Arnaud Demare last year. He moved from Team Sky to the UAE Team Emirates over the winter and says that the team brought him on primarily for this race

 

He is not racing here today but it happens to be the birthday of former winner Fabian Cancellara. He happens to turn 36 today. 

 

After more than 100 kilometres of racing, the breakaway has just four minutes as Bora-Hansgrohe, FDJ and Quick-Step Floors continue to manage the front of the bunch. The wind is certainly not helping their efforts. 

 

#MSR is @tomboonen1's 40th Monument. Of the previous 39, he won 7, finished 6 times on the podium and in other 8 oc… https://t.co/kIImWJtep6

@quickstepteam Sat, 18th Mar 2017 11:51:49

Alan Marangoni is one of the most experienced riders in the breakaway today. Marangoni is on a run of good form after a decent showing at Tirreno-Adriatico. He was in the break for several of the stages and was just pipped to the mountains classification by Davide Ballerini

 

Toms Skujiņš and Mirco Maestri are two of the least experienced in the breakaway. Both riders turned professional last season. Maestri was another that put himself at the forefront at Tirreno-Adriatico and almost beat Peter Sagan in the points classification. Skujiņš has had a slightly quieter start of the year and is returning to racing after a short two-week break. 

 

The third hour of racing has come to a close. My, how time flies. The average pace continues to drop, with the riders hampered by the wind. The leaders completed the third hour with an average speed of 37.8kph, 

 

 Susan jumping in to take over live report for a short spell.

This is the least interesting part of such a long race. The break group is established, has a set time gap and absolutely nothing happens for another 100 km or so.

Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep) is dealing with the pressure of being a favourite here today and of having a wrist injury which could hamper his ambitions. This is what he said this morning before the start:

"I think Milan-San Remo is an important race for every rider. I hope to do well but I also want to enjoy it and not crash like last year.

"It’s difficult to say how my form is or compare it to last year. But I think I’m going well and hope to handle the 300k distance pretty well.

"We’ll wait and see what happens on the Cipressa and the Poggio. If an important attack goes, you can’t give a metre because the finish is so close and it’s difficult to close the gap."

Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo), had this to say this morning:

“Milan-San Remo is always special for every Italian rider because we grow up watching it and hearing about. We’ve got John as our team leader but well find a solution that suits both of us so we can win.

"It’s always harder for an attack to stay away these days but we’d like a hard race, so we’ll see what happens in the finale.”

We have reached the first climb of the day, the Passo del Turchino, a climb nearly 26 km long.

 

Elia Viviani (Team Sky) has been preparing for this race all year. 

!After the Olympics, this is the next big goal for me personally. I’ve been thinking about it and working for it all winter. When my teammates went back to the hotel at training camp, I often did an extra hour because I know Milan-San Remo is close to 300km long. I hope that extra work will be worth it and that I can win it, maybe this year or sometime in the future.

"I’m not quite as fast as I once was and I’ve lost a few watts of speed so that I can be more resistant on the climb and in long races.

"We’ve also got Kwaitkowski. He’s on great form and has got the freedom to ride his race and go on the attack. I’ve got Moscon, Rowe and Stannard to help me in the finale."

The riders will soon hit the lower slopes of Passo del Turchino, where Fausto Coppi launched a huge solo attack at the 1946 edition.

@quickstepteam Sat, 18th Mar 2017 12:29:49

FDJ has been using William Bonnet since the beginning of the day. Three hours in Bonnet is still doing the honours for the team. 

Before the action here really hots up, why not re-live last year's race with our short video highlights

 

Milan-San Remo is one of the few one-day races that Philippe Gilbert is yet to win. During Paris-Nice Gilbert told Cyclingnews that a win here would be more emotional than another Liege Bastonge Liege. These are Gilbert's toughts on what could happen today. 

 

"It’s a long race but in the end we ride the same amount of hours as a Lombardia or a FIanders. Mentally that number, 291km, makes the difference.There are many sectors where you can make a difference, much depends on the wind. The Turchino is surely one of the first important points where you need to be in the front and take advantage of the possible tail wind. The other one is from Imperia to the Cipressa and the descent which is fast with some tricky corners. To finish with the descent of the Poggio where at that point the legs decide."

 

Umberto Poli is doing a decent effort in the breakaway considering that the team says they only notified him of his start three days ago. When the call comes to ride San Remo you just can't say no. 

 

 

The latest time check has the breakaway at 4:40. The gap between the peloton and the leaders has swung between 4 and 5 minutes throughout most of the day. 

 

A crash from Salvatore Puccio. He is the first to go down today but probably not the last. We hope that he is ok. 

 

The breakaway is passing through Turchino at the moment. There's a few grey clouds but it's still dry out there for now. 

 

If there is one guy that i can imagining winning Milan-San Remo from an early break its @clarkeywilbur #MilanoSanremo

@AikeVisbeek Sat, 18th Mar 2017 13:14:17

Sonny Colbrelli finally took his first win of the season at Paris-Nice and he will be the main hope for Bahrain-Merida today. Like most, he sees Sagan and Gaviria as the biggest dangers but also defending champion Demare. 

 

"There always a lot of real favourites for Milan-San Remo but I think there are three big favourites this season: Sagan, Gaviria and Demare," he said. "But we race for 300km and so anyone’s legs can fail them after seven hours of racing, including the biggest names.

 

"I hope for a hard race and hope a hard race."

 

As the riders pick up and eat their lunch, the gap has plummeted to 2:15 for the 10 leaders. It's likely to go back up again soon enough though. 

 

As the riders pick up and eat their lunch, the gap has plummeted to 2:15 for the 10 leaders. It's likely to go back up again soon enough though. 

 

Ahead of the race, Mark Cavendish admitted that he wasn't in the best of form. He's been hampered by illness in recent weeks but says that his knowledge of the course could pay dividends. Read his full comments here

 

Trek-Segafredo keeping John Degenkolb safe and out of the wind. 

 

 

Illegally light: Wilier's Zero.6 weighs a mere 5.8kg/13lb https://t.co/6WCOiLxMLk https://t.co/2g1Va5Oq6c

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 18th Mar 2017 13:30:31

After leading for most of the first off of today, William Bonnet pulls off the front and Mikael Delage takes up the pace setting for FDJ. 

 

#MSR The record-holder for Milano-Sanremo wins is Eddy Merckx, who won 7 editions of the race (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975 and 1976)

@Milano_Sanremo Sat, 18th Mar 2017 13:39:02

After dropping down, the peloton has allowed the breakaway a little more room. They've now got  3:02 as the most important part of the race approaches. 

Coming at you live from the break at #MSR. Some would say the weather in Italy today is great but I prefer cold and rain, too bad...

@Tomashuuns Sat, 18th Mar 2017 13:47:15

112km remaining from 291km

The peloton has decided that they were getting too close to the breakaway and have let the gap go out ot five minutes. They want to make sure to keep them close but not so close that someone might want to bridge the gap. This is the largest the gap has been all day. 

 

One of the Katusha riders having a problem with his rear mech. He risks his fingers by trying to sort it out on the move. Thankfully, he's got all his digits intact. 

 

Defending champion Arnaud Demare says he's in good form today, better than he had anticipated. 

"Having number one on my back makes me think back to last year’s race and reminds how I won Milan-San Remo. My legs feel great, even better than I expected."

 

Demare also had a word on the new beard styling that Sagan turned up with today. 

 

"Peter Sagan turned up at the start with a new look after shaving part off his beard. He now looks like D'Artagnan," said Demare. “It’s just a joke. After all, this is a day for a joker, right?”
 

 

104km remaining from 291km

The peloton is playing the breakaway like a yo-yo today. After letting the break move out to five minutes up the road, they've sliced a big chunk of time off. It is Quick-Step doing the chasing and they've brought it way back down to 3:17. 

 

Calling the car for a bottle and some potatoes so I can keep hanging out in the break https://t.co/XWuUegnfnR

@Tomashuuns Sat, 18th Mar 2017 14:04:35

A lingering shot of Toms Skujins and his disc brakes. He is one of two Cannondale riders on discs today while the rest have opted for calipers. 

 

Mark Cavendish moving through the cars at the moment with the help of some teammates It looks like he may have suffered from a mechanical. 

 

A quick conversation between Julian Vermote and Davide Cimolai at the front of the bunch. FDJ may be concerned with the speed that Quick-Step has been setting recently. Under the pressure of the Belgian squad, the bunch has been strung out along the coast and the gap has plummeted to 2:16.

 

John Degenkolb is riding Milan-San Remo for the first time since his victory in 2015. Degenkolb missed last years race after a horrible training accident in Calpe last January where he almost lost a finger. This is what Degenkolb had to say ahead of the race. 

 

“I’m motivated to back at Milan-San Remo. It’s a special race for me because it was my first classic win. It’s emotional to be back too. The crash last year meant I missed the Classics season and my favourite races but now I’m just looking forward to the racing.

 

"I’ve done a lot of hard races but I’ve rested up after the intensity too. That’s as important as the work. I think it’s going to be very fast and hard race. If we have a tailwind down the coast to Alassio and Cipressa it will be very fast. For me the harder it is the better it is. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on the limit on the top of the Cipressa and on the Poggio.

 

"I think I’m more experienced and confident than when I won in 2015. I’ve got a super great team like I did in 2015."
 

 

There is a pretty stiff breeze hitting the riders at the moment as they continue to make their way along the coast. It's a cross headwind for them and its helping to string the bunch out. 

 

#MSR We're down to 100km to go and the breakaway's lead is just over 2 minutes. Still a lot of racing to come!

@BMCProTeam Sat, 18th Mar 2017 14:14:51

The yo-yo is on the way out again. 2:39 for the breakaway. It seems that the word Cimolai had with Vermote has worked. It's now Jay Thomson for Dimension Data working on the front.

 

Vermote takes over again as Peter Sagan is now making his way back to the peloton after a pop back to the car. There's a lot of cars and not too much space on the road so he's having to work hard. 

 

We've compiled an extensive gallery of some of the action so far and the from the start line. Peruse through it at your own leisure right here

 

This is one of those pictures from our gallery. Tom Boonen signing on for the last Milan-San Remo of his career. 

 

 

Thus far, there has been just one climb but with 76km to go the leaders are fast approaching the lumpy finale with the three Capos. The first of them, the Capo Mele comes up with just under 60km to go. 

 

After the Capo Mele, the Capo Cervo and then the Capo Berta. It's here that the first small selection will be made. Provided they don't make any big mistakes, all the big names should make it through there to battle on the Cipressa and the Poggio. 

 

The Cipressa has been a part of Milan-San Remo since 1982. There was a big crash near the foot of the 5.6km climb last year, which took out Michael Matthews and Arnaud Demare. Matthews made it back on but was not in the condition to compete in the sprint. Demare was a different story, as he went on to win the race. Following the race a furore erupted about whether or not Demare had held onto a race vehicle. Whatever the truth was, Demare was able to keep his victory, no doubt the biggest of his career. 

 

The Poggio made its debut at the 1961 Milan-San Remo. While it is not the toughest of climbs, at 3.6km and an average of 3.7 per cent, it has become one of the most iconic. Poor positioning on this climb can ruin your race too as the bunch often splits under the pressure of attacks. 

 

2:10 for the breakaway with 63km to go. Coming up, the Capi.

Before the proverbial hits the fan, lets take a look at some of today's contenders. Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria sit at the top of the list for many people. Former winners John Degenkolb, Arnaud Demare, Alexander Kristoff and Mark Cavendish are not too far behind them. 

 

Along with Gaviria, Quick-Step Floors also has Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert, while Matteo Trentin could also put up a solid sprint for them if needs be. Greg Van Avermaet has been good for BMC so far this season, while Sonny Colbrelli looks to be coming into decent form. Michael Matthews has finished on the podium here before and will want to put the demons of last year behind him. Nacer Bouhanni has had a mixed spring campagne so far but his win at Nokere Koerse will be a big boost. Elia Viviani has been focused on this race all winter but he's been a bit hit and miss of late. 

 

Outstide threats could also come from Edvald Boasson Hagen, Juan Jose Lobato, Sam Bennett, Tim Wellens, Sacha Modolo, Ben Swift, Jurgen Roelandts, Michal Kwiatkowski and Danny Van Poppel. 

 

56km remaining from 291km

The riders are about to start climbing and the weather is turning darker. Just 1:36 left for the escapees. 

 

The peloton is preparing itself for the first climb. Trek-Segafedo, BMC, AG2R La Mondiale, Quick-Step, FDJ and Bora-Hansgrohe are all trying to get their leaders up to the front. 

 

The peloton has been taking it pretty easy up until now but the riders are much more alert on the climbs. This is where things can be derailed very quickly and all that work can go to naught. With just over 50km to the finish, the break has only 1:30 on the peloton. 

 

The breakaway holding on over the Capi. 

 

 

47km remaining from 291km

The leaders are on the Capo Cervo right now and they're just about holding onto the lead of 1:23. The peloton has the rocket under them though and it won't last long. 

 

Julien Vermote is back on the front for Quick-Step after doing plenty of work early on. At the back of the bunch, Stephen Cummings is keeping himself out of trouble and out of the wind. 

 

Alexis Gougeard decides to take a flyer with 45km to go. He launches a move from near the front of the peloton. He's got Nico Denz in the breakaway. The gap is just 1 minute. 

 

AG2R La Mondiale don't have any clear cut favourites for today's race so they need to try something outside of the box if they want to take the victory. 

 

Gougeard is 20 seconds ahead of the bunch but he's still a minute behind the escapees. Can he actually make it across or will he just get stuck in no man's land?

 

41km remaining from 291km

As the bunch prepares for the final of the Capo climbs, the Capo Berta, the pace slows a little and it allows some of the dropped riders to get back on. The peloton is growing at the moment. 

 

Gougeard no longer making any ground on the 10 leaders. He's stuck at about a minute behind while the peloton close in behind him. The leaders are now onto the Capo Berta. 

 

Umberto Poli is the first of the breakaway to get dropped. He is the youngest rider int e break and only got called up three days before the race. Mattia Frapporti has also been dropped. 

 

38km remaining from 291km

Gougeard is dangling like a carrot in front of the peloton. They can see him just a few metres up the road and he's likely to give up pretty soon. 

 

The Niccolo Bonifazio fanclub up on the Capo Berta and letting off flares. The riders will not be too happy with that. 

 

The peloton has mopped up Gougeard and are bringing back some of former escapees. Delage has a bit of an issue on the climb and has to put his foot down. He gets going soon enough though. 

 

52km remaining from 291km

The remaining escapees are on the descent but the bunch is less than a minute behind. 

 

Not going to lie, the smoke isn't awesome when you're trying to breath...#MSR

@Tomashuuns Sat, 18th Mar 2017 15:28:19

Katusha was looking pretty sprightly on that descent as one of the riders scythed down it. They've been fairly invisible so far but plenty more of the Katusha team up near the front now. 

 

As we write, Katusha muscles their way to the front. The Cipressa is coming and nobody wants to be out of position. 

 

The John Degenkolb fanclub has been out in force on the Cipressa. Picture courtesy of Trek-Segafredo. 

 

 

30km remaining from 291km

Bahrain-Merida leads the peloton onto the Cipressa with the breakaway just 30 seconds up the road and 30km to go. 

 

Cofidis and Lotto Soudal moving up to the front of the bunch now. 

 

Two opposing trains on the road. Katusha leads on the left and Cofidis is on the right, while Lotto Soudal are trying to move up the middle. 

 

Sky is also trying to put a few riders up front. Will one of them attack on the Cipressa?

 

Mark Cavendish and several of his teammates up front now. This is a big dogfight for the front positions. Marcel Sieberg has put the hammer down for Lotto Soudal. 

 

First sighting of Sagan for a while. He is about 15 riders back in the bunch. 

 

26km remaining from 291km

The break begin the Cipressa but the peloton is hot on their heels so Rovni decides to attack. 

 

26km remaining from 291km

The break begin the Cipressa but the peloton is hot on their heels so Rovni decides to attack. 

 

One of the Sunweb riders now stringing it out on the Cipressa. Just three members of the escape group remaining on the front. 

 

And that is it for the breakaway. It's gruppo compatto for no more than a few seconds and some riders are on the attack. 

 

The bunch is in bits now. Daniel Oss is in a front group of about 7 riders. Tim Wellens is in there too and the bunch is now chasing hard. 

 

The peloton brings it back together and Tim Wellens attacks again. 

 

Mattia Cattaneo has gone with Wellens. Behind them, Oss and Arndt are sitting on the front of the bunch and clawing their way back to the two leaders. 

 

The momentum of the attack has gone and Arndt brings back Cattaneo and Wellens. Geschke now takes up the pace setting. 

 

Sunweb really want to get rid of some of the pure sprinters or at least knacker them and make things a little easier for Michael Matthews. 

 

The bunch splits again and it looks like Cavendish is in trouble. He is right at the back of the bunch. Dumoulin takes over Geschke. 

 

22km remaining from 291km

The trap door is certainly open and plenty of riders are being dropped out of it at the moment. Dumoulin going hammer and tongs at the moment. He has the bunch stretched out like a snake. 

 

FDJ are up near the front, which means that Demare should be in there. Some representatives for Team Sky. Lotto Soudal, Orica-Scott, Katusha and Trek-Segafredo. 

 

Bahrain-Merida now up near the front. They've got Colbrelli and they will want to make sure those that have been dropped will struggle to make it back. This is hotting up nicely. 

 

Just 20km to go as the bunch sweeps down the descent of the Cipressa. 

 

Cav's group does seem close enough to rejoin on descent. Might just be keeping the effot even, staying out of the red. #msr

@Cyclocosm Sat, 18th Mar 2017 15:50:46

It is single file on the descent of the Cipressa. It's a very technical descent and at this speed there isn't much room to ride beside each other. 

 

17km remaining from 291km

Another attack from Lotto Soudal. This time it is Tony Gallopin and he's got Gilbert trying to follow him. 

 

Lots of teams trying to get a rider in this move. It's a strong one. 

 

Bora-Hansgrohe do not have someone in that small break and Maciej Bodnar is chasing it down for Sagan. 

 

It's all back together pretty quickly. That move was too important to give it much room. 

 

Fernando Gaviria and Julian Alaphilippe are in that front group for Quick-Step. The Belgian team seems to have most of their riders up there. Sagan is sitting third wheel in the Bora Hansgrohe train at the front of the bunch. 

 

14km remaining from 291km

The pace abates briefly as the riders catch their breath before the Poggio. Who will be the next rider to have a go?

 

Most of the big favourites seem to have made it though safely, although there is no sign of Mark Cavendish at the moment. Difficult to get a sighting of the back of the bunch. 

 

UAE Team Emirates are coming up to the front. They've got Ben Swift in this group. 

 

Tom Boonen ahoy. The Belgian is on the front of the small peloton. Quick-Step getting ready for the Poggio. 

 

Gaviria moves to the back of a four-man Quick-Step train. Trek-Segafredo is just behind. 

 

This effort is good practice for the cobbled Classics later this month for Tom Boonen. 

 

A problem for Visconti who is off the back of the bunch. 

 

Around 50 riders remaining in this group with 10km to go. Trek-Segafredo takes over the pace setting. Degenkolb is in third wheel. 

 

Team Sky coming up to the front with Elia Viviani. They've got four riders to help the Italian. 

 

And the riders are onto the Poggio. Luke Rowe leads proceedings. 

 

Tom Dumoulin battling up to the front though and he slots himself into second wheel behind Rowe. 

 

Single file as Dumoulin makes a small gap to Christian Knees who is not the first Team Sky rider. 

 

Dumoulin still forcing things but he can't seem to drop anyone at the moment. 

It looks like Sky is trying to keep things at a slightly easier pace than Dumoulin wants. They don't want to hurt Viviani too much. 

 

Dumoulin has spent most of the Poggio about two or three bike length's ahead of the rest of the bunch. 

 

6km remaining from 291km

Dumoulin finally pulls over as the race closes in on the top of the Poggio. His day is done. 

 

Sagan attacks!

 

Sagan has been near the front for some time and he decides now is the time to go. Kwiatkowski and Alaphilippe trying to chase. 

 

5km remaining from 291km

Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski finally make contact with Sagan just before the descent. BMC is doing the chasing behind. 

 

Sagan will use all of his descending skills here. Can he drop Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski?

 

4km remaining from 291km

Bahrain-Merida has now moved to the front of the peloton to make the chase. No time gaps yet. 

 

3km remaining from 291km

Alaphilippe sitting on Sagan's wheel. He knows that he's got some pretty strong teammates behind. A time check shows they've got just 11 seconds on the bunch. 

 

This is not a foregone conclusion for Sagan if this group goes to the line. Alaphilippe or Kwiatkowski have the pace to beat him. 

 

1km remaining from 291km

17 seconds now for the three leaders as they hit the flat roads in San Remo. 

 

Kwiatkowski helping st the pace now. They want to make this work. 

 

Trek-Segafredo chasing behind now. It's 19 seconds and growing though. 

 

Flamme rouge and 10 seconds. The gap is falling. 

 

Sagan leads the break onto the Via Roma. 

 

500m to go

 

Sagan launches his sprint. 

 

Kwiatkowski wins. 

 

Sagan looked like he had it right until the final couple of metres when Kwiatkowski pushed past him.

 

Sagan's dive for the line was so forceful he almost came off his bike and bumped into Kwiatkowski. 

 

The organisers had to go to a photo finish but it didn't take long to pick Kwiatkowski as the winner. Kwiatkowski has been so good already this season and won Strade Bianche in fine fashion at the start of the month. This is the Polish rider's first Monument. win. 

 

Alaphilippe claims third place in his debut Milan-San Remo while Alexander Kristoff won the bunch sprint for fourth place. 

 

I think this final today in @Milano_Sanremo was a flashback with @vincenzonibali @simongerrans not always the strongest winning bike races

@f_cancellara Sat, 18th Mar 2017 16:21:57

The top 20 finishers at the 2017 Milan-San Remo 

 

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 7:08:39
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:05
5 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
6 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
7 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
8 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
9 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
10 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
11 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
12 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
13 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
14 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
15 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
16 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott
17 Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE Emirates
18 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
19 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
20 Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini

 

This was the top 3 on their way off the Poggio. 

 

After his victory, Michal Kwiatkowski says that he didn't expect Peter Sagan to go on the Poggio. You and me both. Although you often have to expect the unexpected with Peter Sagan. 

 

People will be talking about Sagan all day, but Kwiato deserves huge props. Read the race to perfection, saved just enough to win. #MSR

@VeloHuman Sat, 18th Mar 2017 16:27:52

Last 10 Monuments have witnessed 10 different winners, an all-time record.

@CafeRoubaix Sat, 18th Mar 2017 16:27:27

A great picture of the finish here from the organser. It really was a close call. 

 

 

Race has been over for only 20 minutes and they're already back at it. Thanks for all you do #GreenArgyle mechanics… https://t.co/Rba05oozDe

@Ride_Argyle Sat, 18th Mar 2017 16:37:23

The Milan-San Remo Twitter feed reminds us that Michal Kwiatkowski is only the second rider to win Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo in the same season. Fabian Cancellara also did it back in 2008. 

 

Michal Kiwatkowski receives a new-look trophy for his victory. 

 

 

Over 7 hours of race today. It's the first time since 2008 #MSR https://t.co/sY8AoYzUjL

@Milano_Sanremo Sat, 18th Mar 2017 16:51:07

The highlights are currently going into the video machine that we call YouTube and will be with you at any moment. Our full report is already online with the results and plenty of photos. Take a look at them here

 

Michal Kiwatkowski with his former teammate Julian Alaphilippe on the podium. 

 

 

A tough day out for all at the first monument of the season. Catch up on the action from our guys racing at #MSR.… https://t.co/6ImCBOuB2g

@TeamSunweb Sat, 18th Mar 2017 17:03:45

The photo finish from today's race. How close was that!

 

 

The highlights are locked and loaded. You can watch them here

 

And this is how close it was! The photo finish via @Milano_Sanremo #MSR

We hope that you enjoyed the live coverage today. That is it for us on today's action. We will have more live race coverage from Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday but keep tuned for all the reaction from today and click here for today's race report. 

 

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